Kyle Drennen

Kyle Drennen's picture
Senior News Analyst


Kyle Drennen is the Media Research Center's Senior News Analyst and a Contributing Editor to NewsBusters. He is the co-author of the 2014 Media Reality Check study, TV News Blacks Out This Year’s Bad Election News for Democrats.

In 2009, he captured the infamous comment from then-Newsweek editor Evan Thomas comparing President Obama to God. Later that same year, he exposed for MSNBC deceptively editing video footage of a Tea Party rally to conceal the racial identity of an African American participant, forcing the liberal network to respond to criticism and explain its actions.

His media analysis has been cited by nationally syndicated radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, as well as media outlets including Fox News, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ.com, The Washington Times, Washington Examiner, Politico, National Review, among others.  

Kyle joined the MRC in 2007 after graduating from Providence College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science. He lives in Northern Virginia and can be contacted via email at kdrennen@mrc.org.

Latest from Kyle Drennen

Starting off a gentle interview with United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power on Thursday's CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O'Donnell began to pitch what could have been a hardball question on the Obama administration's slow response to violence in Syria giving rise to the ISIS terrorist threat, but instead tossed out this: "When you first became ambassador, you pushed for air strikes in Syria. Now we have lawmakers on record supporting engagement in Syria. How do you see this playing out?"

No question about whether the President was wrong to not take Power's recommendation on Syria, just simply, "How do you see this playing out?"


As reported by Politico, recently dumped Meet the Press moderator David Gregory moderated a panel for the No Labels Strategic Agenda conference in Washington on Wednesday and lectured his media colleagues: "[I]n Washington political journalism the narrative gets set, and it gets set early and built on. And things that fight the narrative get harder to report out, I think, often because of laziness in media."

Given that Meet the Press on his watch was routinely a place to promote the conventional wisdom of Washington, Gregory is hardly one to accuse other journalists of lazily accepting inside-the-beltway spin in political coverage.


Appearing on Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Barak Barfi, spokesman for the family of beheaded journalist Steven Sotloff, ripped the Obama administration over it's handling of the kidnapping of Sotloff and fellow journalist James Foley by ISIS terrorists: "We never really believed that the administration was doing anything to help us. We had very, very limited contact with senior officials..."

Moments later, Barfi accused the White House of intimidating the families of the hostages: "The families sat with this National Security Council official and basically he bullied and hectored them and they were scared....I sat in other meetings with mid-level State Department officials and the FBI and I basically heard the same thing." [Listen to the audio]


During the first installment of PBS's The Roosevelts: An Intimate History on Sunday, historian Clay Jenkinson and former Newsweek editor turned historian Evan Thomas slammed Theodore Roosevelt as a bloodthirsty "imperialist" who promoted the "glorification of war" and built up a "cult" of personality. [Listen to the audio]

Speaking on Roosevelt's command of the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War, Jenkinson proclaimed: "There's no question that Roosevelt is an imperialist. Apologists like to try to play this down. But the fact is he's probably the most significant imperialist in American history." Jenkinson seemed troubled by Roosevelt's call for the United States to "take our place in the world's arena."


NBC, ABC, and CBS completely ignored the latest setback for ObamaCare after news broke Monday that around 115,000 people were expected to lose health insurance coverage at the end of September due to their failure to verify their legal status as United States citizens.

Not only did CBS skip any mention of the bad news for President Obama's signature legislation, but on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O'Donnell actually touted a good news story about the law in the New York Times: "Federal researchers say the number of uninsured Americans dropped by about 4 million to 41 million during the first quarter of this year. It's the first time the government has counted uninsured Americans since President Obama's Affordable Care Act kicked in last January." [Listen to the audio]


In preparation for Democrats possibly losing control of the Senate in the midterm election, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd and his panel actually tried to preemptively spin such a defeat as a good thing for the Democratic Party. On Sunday, Todd proclaimed: "What everybody in Washington knows but won't say, and that is, secretly...I'm convinced, I think we know this, Hillary Clinton would love to see the Senate in Republican hands going into 2016, wouldn't she?" [Listen to the audio]

Politico's Jim VandeHei agreed: "I think a lot of Democrats would. They never say it in public. Because everybody knows virtually nothing is going to happen over the next two years, and Democrats, Hillary Clinton in particular, would love Republicans, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, to actually have to take ownership of some of the dysfunction."


After fretting on Sunday's Meet the Press that Hillary Clinton may not be liberal enough for 2016 Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa, on Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Andrea Mitchell eagerly touted the Clinton campaign machine: "This time, Clinton organizers say they've learned their lesson, busing in volunteers from all over the country."

A clip played of Mitchell shouting a question to the former secretary of state: "Does it feel great to be back out here?" Clinton replied: "It's great. It was a great day. Couldn't have been better." To former President Bill Clinton, Mitchell enthused: "If she wants to, can she do it this time?" He dodged the question, remarking: "I have nothing to say. It's not my decision." Mitchell concluded: "I think I know which way you would vote." [Listen to the audio]


On Friday, all three network morning shows seized on reports that Sarah Palin and her family were "caught in a massive brawl" during a house party in Anchorage, Alaska. ABC's Good Morning America opened with substitute co-host Lara Spencer declaring: "One witness saying it was like an episode of Jerry Springer, her kids throwing punches. What sparked this rumble in the tundra?" The song Eye of the Tiger was heard playing in the background. [Listen to the audio]

In the full report that followed on GMA, correspondent Paula Faris pushed the tabloid story: "According to the Washington Post, Palin, along with her husband Todd and kids Bristol, Willow, and Track, arriving in a stretch Hummer. The Post also reporting that as the beer started flowing, that's when the fighting started." Supposed eyewitness Eric Thompson proclaimed: "I heard Sarah Palin scream out, 'You know who we are, don't you?' It was like we were just on a Jerry Springer episode."


On Thursday's NBC Today, several hours after NBC chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel ripped President Obama's strategy to combat ISIS as being "wildly off-base," correspondent Peter Alexander promoted the commander-in-chief's Wednesday primetime address: "President Obama announced that he would lead a broad coalition to destroy ISIS....The war will be more like those in Yemen and Somalia, Mr. Obama stressed..." [Listen to the audio]

At the core of Engel's criticism of the President was the notion that the same strategy used to combat Al Qaeda forces in places like Yemen and Somalia could also be used to fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Engel dismissed the idea as "an oversimplification of the problem," warning that the situations were "not comparable at all."


Wednesday's NBC Today was the only network morning show to cover President Obama being refused tee times at several top golf courses during his Labor Day weekend trip to New York, with co-host Matt Lauer declaring: "...the President has faced some criticism recently over the time he spends playing golf....[now] more problems tied to his favorite hobby." [Listen to the audio]

Fellow co-host Willie Geist explained: "Club managers saying they didn't want to inconvenience their high-profile and dues-paying members by shutting down their courses to accommodate the President during the busy holiday weekend." Moments later, Geist seemed to fault the courses by labeling the refusals a "country club snub."


At the end of a report on Wednesday's NBC Today about President Obama's upcoming speech on combating ISIS terrorists, correspondent Peter Alexander sympathetically observed: "The primetime nature of this speech really underscores its stakes, but also a significant shift for this President, who wanted to leave the White House as a peacetime president. But now...is likely to commit the country to what some say could be another potentially costly military campaign." [Listen to the audio]

In the segment that followed, co-host Matt Lauer led off a discussion with Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd on that sentiment: "Peter just said the President wanted to leave office as a peacetime president. ISIS makes the decision whether he leaves as a wartime president." Todd replied: "He's been reluctant and we know over about a ten-day period he seemed to be the last one in his administration acknowledging that there needed to be a military campaign."


In an interview with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer asked the New York Democrat about accusations in her new memoir of male congressional colleagues making sexist remarks to her and voiced his disappointment that she had not "named names" [Listen to the audio]:

A senator, this is a guy you admire, squeezed your waist from behind and told you not to lose too much weight because he likes his girls chubby. And you didn't name names. Why?...You also write in the book, "Comments about appearance belittle women professionally. We need to start to change it by calling out undercutting remarks and educating our peers." Why didn't you call them out?


On Tuesday, ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today, offered mere seconds on President Obama's approval rating hitting "near record lows" amid his reluctance to aggressively combat ISIS terrorists. CBS This Morning skipped any mention of the dismal poll numbers for the commander-in-chief.

On Good Morning America, after touting broad public support for the kind of military action against ISIS that Obama would likely announce in a Wednesday night address to the nation, co-host George Stephanopoulos noted: "It comes at a time when he's facing some real popularity problems. We see 56% of the country disapproving of how the President's handling foreign policy." [Listen to the audio]


After attending the NATO summit in Wales, President Obama only managed to convince 9 of the 28 member nations to join the U.S.-led effort to combat the ISIS terror network in Iraq and Syria. Despite such a failure to gain support from America's allies, on Monday's NBC Today, new Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd emphasized how the President wanted "to make this coalition against ISIS...look like the coalition that George H.W. Bush, back in 1990 and '91...put together to go after Saddam Hussein." [Listen to the audio]

Todd never mentioned how far short Obama had fallen of that goal, but asserted: "They don't want like some small coalition of two or three nations where it really is just the United States and a couple of symbolic countries."


After Cosmopolitan magazine announced it would begin endorsing political candidates in the 2014 midterm election, Friday's CBS This Morning eagerly brought on the publication's left-wing editor-in-chief Joanna Coles, who proceeded to push liberal agenda items and bash Republicans. [Listen to the audio]

Co-host Gayle King touted the magazine "going political" and planning to "cover the midterm campaigns with a laser focus on issues it believes are crucial to women." Moments later, Coles made it clear those issues would all be from the left: "...there are two in particular that we feel really strongly about....equal pay for equal work, which you would think in 2014 would be an issue that would already be done....and also access to great health care and to contraception."


On Wednesday, the New York Post reported that in addition to Matt Lauer's $20 million annual salary, NBC News recently agreed to start flying the Today co-host back and forth from work to his lavish estate in the Hamptons. Such details of Lauer's one percent lifestyle stand in stark contrast to the common-man image he projects on the morning show.

In fact, Lauer has frequently used his media pulpit to preach liberal talking points on class warfare and income redistribution. Here is a sampling of his worst moments of wealth hypocrisy at the anchor desk:


While both NBC's Today and CBS This Morning on Thursday highlighted Republicans and Democrats in Congress taking President Obama to task for failing to have a strategy to combat the ISIS terror network, ABC's Good Morning America skipped any mention of the growing bipartisan frustration with the White House.

On This Morning, correspondent Nancy Cordes reported: "Lawmakers from both sides tell us they believe the President has the authority to act right away....they want to see signs that he is crafting a plan and they want the White House to share that plan with them as soon as possible....[they] want more than just promises. They want evidence that a strategy is taking shape."


Appearing on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports on Wednesday, NBC chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel ripped into President Obama having no strategy to combat ISIS terrorists: "This has been going on for over three years. The buildup of ISIS has not been rapid, it has been quite slow. It has been quite well-documented....I met an ISIS fighter and I broadcast it on Nightly News....So that we have no strategy to deal with ISIS is quite – is quite ridiculous at this stage."

That followed Engel revealing on Sunday's Meet the Press that military officials "are apoplectic" over the President's failure to act on the crisis. "They think that this is a clear and present danger. They think something needs to be done. One official said that this was a Freudian slip, that it shows how the United States does not have a policy to deal with Syria," he added. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]


After President Obama admitted on Thursday that he had "no strategy" for dealing with the ISIS terrorist network, on Wednesday, the network morning shows rushed to portray the aimless commander-in-chief as a tough-talking leader ready to "destroy" the radical killers.

At the top of ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos hyped: "President Obama's tough words to the ISIS terrorists who executed American journalist Steven Sotloff." In the report that followed, correspondent Brian Ross proclaimed: "President Obama vowed that ISIS will pay the price for the murder of a second American journalist. The President delivered fighting words this morning..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]


Despite a Thursday New York Post report that President Obama's upcoming Labor Day weekend fundraising junket would shut down airspace across the northeast and hurt business for local pilots, neither NBC's Today nor ABC's Good Morning America covered the controversy. CBS This Morning offered a mere 18-second news brief on the topic.

This Morning fill-in co-host Vinita Nair informed viewers: "...the FAA is forcing no-fly zones beginning Friday. That includes grounding sea planes from the Hamptons to Nantucket. One company says it is a major hit on their busiest weekend of the year." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]